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Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Working with Layers - Creating a Selection from a Layer & Creating a Layer from a Selection

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4/11/2012 4:54:50 PM

Creating a Selection from a Layer

Photoshop’s traditional layers basically function like sheets of transparent acetate or clear plastic. Once created, they support all of Photoshop’s painting tools, as well as shape and gradient tools. While traditional layers may start out transparent, they don’t remain that way for long. In fact, a layer can, over time, become a complicated mix of non-transparent (the image), and transparent areas. It’s also possible you might want to make a selection out of that complicated image. Photoshop knows this and gives you an easy way to create a selection from a layer. If you want to move a selection, you can drag the selection marquee, even if the layer is hidden (New!).

Create a Selection from a Layer

Select the Layers panel.

Hold down the Ctrl (Win) key, and then click on the image thumbnail of the layer you want create into a selection. Be sure you click on the image thumbnail, not the layer name as you would have in previous versions.

The visible portions of the image on the layer are created into a selection.

Important

Since Photoshop creates the selection based on the image information, there must be transparent and non-transparent areas within the image or the command selects the entire layer as if you had clicked the Select menu, and then clicked All.


Creating a Layer from a Selection

On the previous page, you learned how to create a selection based on the image information within a layer. In addition to creating a selection from a layer, Photoshop gives you the ability to instantly create a layer from a selection. Creating layers from selections opens up all kinds of opportunities for generating special effects. For example, you could select an object from one layer, and then make a layer with that selection, or you could make a selection of just that portion of an image and then apply a layer style to the new layer copy. The possibilities are endless, and part of the fun of using Photoshop lies in exploring those possibilities. If you want to move a selection, you can drag the selection marquee, even if the layer is hidden (New!).

Create a Layer from a Selection

Select the Layers panel.

Click on the layer containing the information you want to convert into a layer.

Select an area of the image using any of Photoshop’s selection tools.

Press Ctrl+J (Win) to make a copy.

Photoshop converts the selected area into a new layer, and places that layer directly above the active layer.

Did You Know?

You can make a copy of all elements within a layer. Select the layer in the Layers panel, and then click Ctrl+J (Win). Since there are no selections, Photoshop creates a copy of the entire layer.

You can make copies of layer objects without a selection.
To make a copy of a layer that contains an object, select the layer in the Layers panel, select the Move tool, hold down the Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) key, and then click and drag (in the document window).

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